For Want of a Button

Notes: Follow-up to Zombie. I'd highly recommend reading that first. Takes place after "Countrycide", before "They Keep Killing Suzie". S1 spoilers.

Rating: PG-13, I guess.

Pairing: Jack/Ianto

Disclaimer: Torchwood and its characters are the property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies. I make no profit from this fanfic.

Ianto's deep in sorting out the latest stack of reports when a button lands on his desk. He looks up. Jack is standing there, one hip against the counter, an eyebrow raised. Ianto glances at the button -- the one gone missing from his shirt last week -- and then raises an eyebrow at Jack.

"Sir?" he asks blandly. In Torchwood, Jack is always 'Sir'. There are lines, even if they're only in Ianto's head.

"You lost something." Jack nods at the button. He's still wearing that hard-to-read expression, but Ianto thinks it's just curiosity, rather than Severe Inquiry. (Naming Jack's expressions is a pastime of Ianto's.)

"Thank you," Ianto replies. He takes the button and drops it into his shirt pocket. When he looks up again, Jack's grin is Frustrated But I'll Get It Out Of You. He disappears back into the hallway leading to the lift, and Ianto breathes a sigh of relief before smiling to himself. He didn't think Jack would care what went on between Toshiko and himself, but one never knew; it could have gone badly. He thinks Jack might be starting to trust him again.

When he takes an armful of boxes down to the Hub for storage, Jack is the only one left. Owen departed earlier, 'on the pull' attitude already in place; Gwen had an evening planned with Rhys, and Tosh slipped out when Ianto wasn't looking.

Ianto looks around the main level of the Hub for any sign of Jack. The lamps are on in his office, but Ianto sees no motion there betraying Jack's location. Sighing, he shifts the boxes in his arms and heads for the archives.

He's at the door to the stairwell when he hears Jack's voice shout his name. Ianto spins on his heel, darts his gaze around. Jack's at the door to his office. Ianto blinks, wishing for a moment that he could bell Jack.

"Sir?" he manages.

"Coffee?" Jack asks by way of reply. "If you're not busy."

Ianto's shoulders sag. He's never going to get the filing done. Still, he enjoys the way Jack appreciates his coffee, so he sets the boxes down next to the door and goes to prepare a fresh pot.

When he brings Jack's mug to his office, Jack has seated himself behind his desk and appears to be engrossed in paperwork. Ianto clears his throat to get Jack's attention. After a moment, Jack looks up and Ianto hands him the coffee.

"Anything else, sir?" he asks while Jack breathes in the rich scent of the fresh brew. Jack sips and then sets the mug down, looking up at Ianto, hands curled around the mug. Ianto finds his gaze drawn to those long, solid fingers, the nails neatly trimmed. It's easier than looking at Jack's face, which now reads Open Interest.

"I was wondering," Jack says, steepling his fingers and leaning back in his chair. "How are you, Ianto?"

Ianto shrugs. "Fine, sir." It's impossible to interpret Jack's tone, so Ianto decides to simply take it at face value. Jack looks up at him, eyebrow quirked (Oh Really). There's something else there, too, something completely unexpected: simple, clear jealousy. The sight of it stuns Ianto.

"I'm aware," Jack says delicately, when Ianto doesn't elaborate further, "that something happened with you and Tosh. I'm not asking for details, I'm not that nosey. I'm actually kind of glad," he adds, as Ianto sucks in a sharp breath. "The two of you are too alone."

Ianto feels something go loose in his knees. He sinks down into one of the chairs opposite Jack's desk. "I--I didn't," he stutters. He doesn't know what he's trying to say, but when Jack stands up and comes around the desk, it ceases to matter. Leaning against the desk, Jack looms tall above him, filling his vision. Ianto swallows hard. He wants to reach out -- Jack is so close, it'd hardly take any movement at all -- and touch Jack, feel the hardness of bone at his hip. He wants to get out of there, to hide.

Jack shakes his head. "I'm not asking for an apology, Ianto. And I'm certainly not going to tell you it was wrong." A little sound of amusement, barely a laugh. "That'd be pretty hypocritical of me."

"Then what, sir?" Ianto dares another look up at Jack. Jack's expression is all Hmmm now, with Disarming Smile plastered on top.

Jack straightens, though, and moves around his desk. "Go home, Ianto," he says quietly. "It's late." He reaches for the decanter of water, pours some into a fine-cut glass, and sits behind the desk, holding the glass up. It catches the light and reflects dazzling rays.

Ianto doesn't waste any time questioning Jack's motives. He flees, knows it for a retreat; doesn't care.

At home -- the tiny flat that passes for home, anyway -- Ianto strips and gets into the shower, turns the water as cool as he can stand it. Shivering under the spray, he mechanically washes himself.

An image flashes into his head: Jack, shirtless, skin glistening with damp. Ianto swears under his breath, but his hand creeps down to cover his cock, hard despite the temperature of the water. Thinking about Jack is all it seems to take, these days. He gives in with bad grace, turning the hot water up again and letting his hand move in the familiar rhythm.

Just as he's getting close, as his breath is coming in quick gasps and he's grabbing at the towel-rack for something to hold on to, the thought hits him that he's a fucking idiot, he could have had Jack Harkness a dozen ways tonight if he'd just fucking said so.

The orgasm hits him so hard that he thinks he loses consciousness for a moment. He slumps hard on the wet tile and draws in heavy gulps of air as the shower spray washes away all evidence.

Why, he wonders to himself, did I run?

His alarm wakes him as usual the next morning. Ianto slaps it off and lays in bed with his eyes closed for several moments, his standard waking procedure. He's not a morning person, though he's more or less trained himself into being functional before dawn. Slinging himself out of bed all at once, he dashes for the bathroom.

As he brushes his teeth, he looks at his foamy-mouthed reflection in the mirror, recalls last night's tepid shower. Jack would probably be thrilled to know I jerked off thinking about him, he thinks.

Suddenly, he finds himself grinning.

When he arrives at the Hub, he is, as usual, the first one to show up. Jack's there, of course, at his desk as if he never left the night before. It's possible he didn't, Ianto thinks, but he doesn't ponder it further; he only goes to the coffee machine and begins the morning ritual. Cleaning, brewing, checking the stock. A mug for Jack and one for himself. He'll pour for the others as they arrive.

For now, though, he takes Jack's striped mug into the office. Jack looks up at him, his eyes underlined with dark circles, and smiles suddenly, brilliantly. "Ianto Jones," he says, full of good cheer. As if last night never happened. "God of coffee."

Ianto gives him a quiet smile and sets the mug down. "Have you been working all night?" he asks as Jack reaches for the mug, holds it under his nose to inhale, then sips.

Jack lets out a soft sound of pleasure, thoroughly distracted by the coffee for the moment. Then he glances up at Ianto and nods. "Perfect, as always. Yeah, I got a bunch of paperwork done. I figured you'd be thrilled. Lots of mailing to do." He gestures at a stack of reports and letters.

Ianto smiles a little, tucking his hands into his pockets. "Licking the envelopes is my favourite part," he says dryly.

Jack's mouth curls up at one corner. "And here I figured you'd have some sort of gizmo for that."

"Always better if done by hand." Casually, Ianto retrieves the button he'd placed in one trouser pocket earlier, keeping it tucked in his curled fingers. He reaches for the stack of paperwork; it's a moment's sleight-of-hand to drop the button on Jack's desk as he takes the papers. "Anything else I can get for you?" he asks.

Sipping his coffee again, Jack makes a negative sound. "Not right now. I'll give a shout if I do," he says.

With a graceful nod, Ianto steps out of the office and heads back to get his own coffee. As he heads up to open the Tourist Centre, he catches himself smiling rather broadly. Both of them had been acting like last night never happened; he hadn't noticed Jack giving him any odd looks. All to the better.

It's nearly noon when Ianto hears the hidden door open. He'd finished up the sorting and taken the mail out, fetched breakfast pastries from a nearby bakery, tidied the Tourist Centre -- twice -- and was beginning to think he'd accidentally dropped the button on the floor or something instead, that all his subtle work was in vain. Now, however, he looks up and sees Jack emerging from the doorway. Jack stalks to the front door, shuts it and flips the 'Closed' sign to face out.

Blinking, Ianto stands from where he was sitting behind the counter. In two long strides, Jack is right there next to him, his eyes dark, one eyebrow quirked. Ianto has no name for this expression. He reaches for Ianto's hand and presses something small and round into it. Ianto tries to breathe and finds that something seems to be stopping up his throat.

"Jack?" he tries to say. It comes out in a hoarse whisper.

"Tell me," Jack says, his voice low, raspy, "what this means. Please, Ianto."

It's the broken sound of that please that undoes Ianto. He grasps Jack's neck in one hand, the other still curled around the button, and finds Jack's mouth with his own.

Kissing Jack isn't at all like what Ianto thought it would be. It's heat and electricity, a mouth hot and smooth on his, sharp teeth nipping at his lip, a tongue pushing urgently into his mouth in mute demand, pleading hunger the equal of Ianto's own. Jack's body is hard against his, too, solid chest, broad shoulders, a hardness at his groin to match Ianto's. When Jack groans into his mouth, it's rough and raw. Jack's hand in his hair makes Ianto shudder. Jack's not gentle at all.

But then Jack's mouth eases on his, soothes, tongue sleeking to gentle the sting in his lip, and Ianto's the one mewling now, little helpless sounds ekeing out of his throat. Jack's other hand finds the small of Ianto's back and Ianto thinks, so this is what it's like to kiss Jack Harkness.

He wants more.

When the kissing ends, they're both breathing shallowly, muted gasps, and the temperature in the Tourist Centre seems to have gone up by several degrees. Ianto's not entirely sure he hasn't come in his pants. Jack gives him a slow grin and Ianto feels his stomach do a slow flip.

"Is that what this is about?" Jack murmurs. "A button for sex?"

Ianto can't help it. He starts laughing. Jack looks confused, though he's still smiling, and Ianto shakes his head, drops the button on the counter.

"No," he manages to say finally. "It's not -- not about the button at all, Jack."

"Then what is it about?" Jack says, softly, his voice a tender whisper in Ianto's ear. Ianto shivers. Somehow, he manages to step away from Jack, though Jack's hands don't seem too willing to let go of him. Ianto licks his lips. He still tastes Jack on them.

"You," Ianto says quietly. "It's you."

Now that he's said it, it seems ridiculously simple. Jack looks at him for a long moment, appraising, eyes gleaming.

The voice that breaks in over Jack's comms startles both of them. "Jack?" Tosh calls. "Jack, where are you?"

Slowly, Jack smiles again. It's predatory, promising. He steps away from the counter, touching his earpiece. "Yeah, Tosh, what is it?"

"There's a call from the police. We're needed at a crime scene, they said it looks like one of ours."

"Right. I'll be there in a tick." Jack lets his hand drop and gives Ianto a wink. "Duty calls."

"No rest for the wicked," Ianto comments, pressing the button to open the hidden door again. He's relieved to be able to give himself a discreet once-over and see that not only did he not come in his pants like a horny teenager, his erection has, thankfully, subsided for the moment.

"Oh, maybe later we can put that to the test." Jack's still grinning (Smug Bastard) as he heads into the hall. Ianto follows. He'll be needed to monitor things in the Hub while the team is out at the crime scene. And this way he can ogle Jack's arse on the way down.

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this page last updated on 20 april 2009